Home Concepts Ethics Coaching for the Greater Good: Interview with Bill Carrier and Alex Petroff

Coaching for the Greater Good: Interview with Bill Carrier and Alex Petroff

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So much of fundraising is reading body language and tone of voice, so presenting your organization as a world class eatery, instead of a lemonade stand, really changes everything.  It must have seemed really odd to people who I spoke to before I changed how I personally perceived my organization.  After my attitude changed the money quickly followed.  I will leave the direct connection to your interpretation; however, one thing is certain it certainly has made fundraising psychologically easier for me, and something I am proud of instead of ashamed of.

After that Bill worked with me on how to plan my time to get things done which I knew were important but not pressing.  I was able to do a huge amount of background research that I would have certainly put off, and that research actually formed the foundation for the changes in my model that I have put in place this year with great effect and profit for my company.

We started working together on some other issues that I had, particularly around staffing problems that were going on at the time, and then our conversations took a turn that I did not expect.  It became clear to Bill that while I was doing great work, like so many people in my profession, I was heading for a fall.  Five years of hard work in a warzone with no pay, had been taking its toll on me, and a couple more years of that and I would find myself in some sort of trouble.  I seemed to be suffering from classic symptoms of PTSD without realizing it.

The bad news was that my position was not sustainable, and I would probably find that out the hard way before too long.  When Bill tactfully put this to me, I didn’t take it too seriously at first.  It seemed selfish to be thinking about my own personal well being when working in a place where people have nothing.  Also sometimes you need to sacrifice your own personal comforts in order to see that your project succeeds.  However, he presented his case in a language I could understand.

He said that I was the most critical part of my organization, and if I wasn’t in fit shape all the time then the organization would suffer, and if I didn’t think about my physical and psychological needs then I would collapse and be of no use to anyone.  Furthermore, not getting paid when the organization is hand to mouthing it and is a week from collapse, and not getting paid as the most critical person in the organization when the organization was sitting on tens of thousands of dollars in the bank that it couldn’t deploy were two very different things.

I began not only to accept a salary, but also to plan how to make my work and life richer.  Originally Bill offered guidance as to how I could do that; however, I quickly could see the impact on my quality of life.  What is more important I could see the impact in my work.   I feel that I have become more personable and less grouchy, don’t dread everything that is not a British Television, and feel proud and valued from the work I do and the life I am leading.

The last thing I will share with you is what I have done with the coaching that does not relate to me.  This summer it became clear to me that just as I was heading for a burnout from hard living and not taking care of myself, my right hand man and project manager XXXX was going in the same direction, and perhaps was even a little further along than I was before Bill’s intervention.  He was becoming tyrannical, paranoid and ill tempered to say the least.  Five years of hard work and no pay in a warzone was affecting him as well.

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